Questions related to the perception and measurement of light (primarily in the visible range), its mathematical description, the reproduction of colors by different means, color combinations, etc. Please use the tag [electromagnetic-radiation] if you want to refer to the general form of light.

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4answers
309 views

Double rainbows

In my garden, when I'm watering the plants I sometimes see a rainbow or two. How did two rainbows appear? Why can't I see three rainbows then, or how can I see three rainbows?
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0answers
31 views

Quantum Efficiency Estimation

Might there be a way to do a rough estimate of the quantum efficiency of a photo-detector like a CCD or CMOS sensor based only on a picture taken with it? I've read papers and guides (like this one: ...
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2answers
129 views

Where does wave frequency come from

I am trying to wrap my head around where do oscillations in electromagnetic waves come from. As an example if I would take a string of guitar and ring it, it would produce a certain sound based on the ...
3
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3answers
185 views

How can space be euclidean when light bends?

I have read people arguing that tridimensional space sections of space time continuum (whatever its number of dimensions) appears to be euclidean from empirical evidence. I cannot reconcile it with my ...
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2answers
1k views

Is there a substance that doesn't reflect OR absorb light from the visible light spectrum?

Is there a substance that doesn't reflect or absorb visible light but may reflect light from another spectrum? Is there a theoretical substance that would have these properties? EDIT: Sorry I wasn't ...
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1answer
158 views

Single slit diffraction pattern in 2D

I was looking at previous exams and I saw a question with single slit diffraction. Please look at picture on the website: http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=4807732#post4807732 So, this ...
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3answers
181 views

Is that a result of thin-film interference?

Several years ago, I was laying on my bed and had a CD shaped transparent plastic disk (which was covering a 100 CD stack), basically a transparent CD. I don't know why but I took my phone and took a ...
2
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5answers
174 views

Is the plasma state always visible?

All the examples of plasma I have come across are visible. Is there any plasma which is not visible? For example, during a dark lightening we don't see the radiation because its gamma radiation. Is ...
3
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2answers
158 views

Physical reason why (hot) objects glow? [duplicate]

Every object at a non-zero temperature radiates light, i.e. it glows. (Is that called blackbody radiation?) What is the physical reason to this? Is it because more heat implies that the atoms ...
14
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4answers
2k views

Is the frequency of light restricted?

What are the factors that limit the frequency of light? Can it have wavelengths ranging between zero and infinity?
2
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1answer
43 views

Color in Different media

When a light wave passes from one medium to other, the wavelength of the light wave changes and the frequency remains constant. If then color of the light waves depends on changing wavelength or ...
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1answer
694 views

Why do objects of a given color appear white under light of that color?

Under light from the sun, a red object will scatter the red component of light, and absorb all others. Hence, the human eye perceives it as "red". White objects scatter all wavelengths of light. ...
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2answers
151 views

Faraday Effect does light bend or lose energy?

I was reading upon Faraday effect when it said Faraday effect causes a rotation of the plane of polarization That in mind, does this mean the light can be bent around or does the light loose ...
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1answer
122 views

If I'm running away from chasing gamma photons, I can see them, right?

Suppose Bruce Banner goes back in time, convinced that the Hulk is a stupid menace. Let's say he also borrows Quicksilver's speed abilities (maybe the Flash is more appropriate, but based on the ...
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1answer
27 views

Do the characteristic vibrational modes of a material define how much will a material heat up upon radiation excitation?

Do, and if yes how, does the intensity and energy of the Raman modes of a material make it to heat more by radiation excitation. I see phonons and vibrations of the lattice as heat, but maybe I'm ...
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0answers
63 views

Mathematical formalism to include wave and particle perspectives of light

Does the exist any mathematical formalism (model) describing the behavior of light and incorporating its particle character (divisibility, quantization) and wave character? (i.e. quantized wave model) ...
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3answers
224 views

Can light be trapped theoretically?

My question is a little silly I know, but I'm curious to know if a particle of light can be theoretically trapped between two reflective screens. For example once the particle of light has left it's ...
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2answers
1k views

Why are most accurate reflective surfaces not white?

Since white is our perception of reflection of light, why are mirrors and other metallic objects that are more grey or silvery capable more reflective than a white object? This is somewhat related: ...
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2answers
288 views

Do the laws of physics that apply to all observers also apply to a non-observer? [closed]

The Timelessness of a photon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ELA3ReWQJY An observer's laws of physics are time based. "When you're traveling at the speed of light, time does not exist" - Neil ...
3
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3answers
118 views

Unpolarized Light

Suppose I had a ray of unpolarized light, and I was sitting inside the beam and looking at the electric fields oscillating, then , if I am looking at a point how would the oscillations look like? I ...
23
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5answers
3k views

Why isn't the sunset/sunrise rainbow-colored

When the sun is rising/setting, it goes through a phase where the light is bending from the atmosphere. I believe this image will explain much better than I ever could. Now, if light goes through ...
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2answers
107 views

Is the gradual progression of day(light) into night a clue that the earth is a sphere?

If the earth was flat, would the transition between day and night be sudden?
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2answers
91 views

More about gravitation as the source of redshift of light beams [closed]

In the realm of physics there is no knowledge, the justification of which does not depend either upon experience or upon reason. In the light of the findings of the preconditions of knowledge made in ...
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6answers
981 views

How can molecule of a few angstroms absorb visible light of a few hundred nanometers?

I guess visible light is visible, because it has the right wavelength to be absorbed (or not) and emitted (or not) by many different molecules. Now visible light has a wavelength in the order of a few ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Do x-rays and gamma rays also contain photons like visible light does?

Do x-rays and gamma rays also contain photons like visible light does? If so, then what makes photons of visible light and other waves different? The rest mass of a photon is zero, but as it moves at ...
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3answers
98 views

Problem on speed of light

As I was reading special relativity, my book says the speed of light is $c$ with respect to any other thing. Does that mean the speed of an individual photon is $c$ even with respect to another ...
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2answers
76 views

What is the maximam distance of light that is released by a flashlight?

Recently I looked at the cloudy night sky and noticed a pale green color light moving around the clouds for about 20 min.After observation I came a conclusion that it is probably because of a light ...
2
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1answer
364 views

Why do i see bright red hand when i place flashlight behind my hand?

When I place a working flashlight behind my hand, I see my hand bright red because of the light. So my question is, why do I only see red light after transmission even if incoming light from the ...
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1answer
73 views

Idea is to make an equipment like torch, which should emit darkness.. Is it possible? [duplicate]

Can we have any equipment as such? If light can emit form a hand held device, why not darkness
3
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1answer
201 views

Would white light waves act as same as monochromatic waves in double slit experiment?

Would white light waves act as same as monochromatic waves in double slit experiment? If not, what pattern would be seen on the screen?
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3answers
227 views

How to convert RGB values to physical radiometry and/or photometry quantities and back?

What are RGB values actually mean in physical sense? Are these values mean some amount of light or energy per surface unit or what? Are they logarithmic? Fro example, why do these values are ...
4
votes
2answers
389 views

Seeing one's back on the event horizon

If we would hypothetically be exactly on the event horizon, we should see our own back, because of the circular motion of photons on the event horizon, right? But what would be the image size, or $-$ ...
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0answers
48 views

Absorption Spectrum

I just learnt what absorption and emission spectrum are. And our teacher introduced us to what Quantum Dots are. And showed us their absorption and emission spectra. And they look something like this ...
0
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1answer
321 views

Electromagnetic radiation and black body radiation

I was taught today that the Electromagnetic wave Theory is unable to explain black body radiation. The example that was given to me: When a metal is heated, it emits different frequencies of light as ...
2
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1answer
190 views

Can horizontally and vertically polarized light combine to become circularly/elliptically polarized light?

Well, we know that circularly/elliptically polarized light is made up from orthogonal components. So is it possible then to create circularly/elliptically polarized light by combining horizontally and ...
118
votes
8answers
13k views

Could Legolas actually see that far?

The video “How Far Can Legolas See?” by MinutePhysics recently went viral. The video states that although Legolas would in principle be able to count $105$ horsemen $24\text{ km}$ away, he shouldn't ...
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1answer
90 views

Calculate minimum intensity of a point source visible to a camera

I have two cameras and know the specified minimum faceplate sensitivity for both: Camera 1: Minimum faceplate sensitivity 4 x 10-6 Lux Camera 2: Minimum faceplate sensitivity 2 x 10-7 lux I also ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Why does adding red light with blue light give purple light?

Our eyes contain 3 photoreceptor cells (cones) to perceive three wavelength ranges of light. Here is a visual representation of the wavelengths by these receptors (S, M and L). So if we have light ...
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1answer
66 views

light color and refraction

I'm a bit confused on the topic of refraction, some starting premises: 1) When light refracts from exiting a medium with a low n and entering a medium with high n the light bends. 2) The index of ...
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1answer
952 views

Problem with plane mirror focal length thoery: Is the focal length actually infinite?

We all learned that the focal length of plane mirrors is considered to be infinite, as the radius of curvature is infinite. However, imagine this scenario: You have a perfectly flat (no one get mad, ...
2
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1answer
78 views

Do the various frequencies of light within sunlight have the same coherence length?

I'm aware that the coherence length of sunlight can be observed with a Michelson-Morley interferometer. I haven't seen any experiment that separated the different colors within sunlight to determine ...
5
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1answer
113 views

Bending of light - photon's inertia instead of mass

Using classical mechanics, the formula for gravitational attraction is $$F = G\frac{m_1m_2}{r^2}.$$ This formula does not work for photons, and we need to use Einstein's theory of gravity to ...
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1answer
74 views

What does the size of an object have to do with it's color?

Stephen Hawking mentions in his book 'A Brief History of Time' that quarks are much smaller than the wavelength of visible light so they do not have any color in the normal sense. What exactly does ...
1
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2answers
103 views

When we look in different directions in the universe how do we know we're not seeing the same thing?

For my question assume: 1: Big bang happened at a point (I know it happened everywhere) but after that explosion universe started to expand in all directions so it maybe considered to happened ...
4
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4answers
992 views

Light and Gravity - bending of light around a massive body [duplicate]

Well, as I have read, a massive body can cause light to bend around itself due to its gravitational attraction. What I don't understand is how, as the Newtonian formula for the force of gravitational ...
0
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4answers
200 views

How does gravity slow light without an equal and opposite action? [closed]

This is regarding the gravity well sort of explanation. People claim that gravity doesn't slow light by saying it curves the road by which it travels but if space is indeed without properties and ...
5
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2answers
434 views

Why does light travel in a straight line through a liquid?

So I was reading a document that stated that when traveling through a material (I'll use a liquid here, maybe water), a photon actually always traveled at 300,000 km/s, it was just that it ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Why does glass absorb infrared light?

I was under the impression that glass was transparent to light with a wavelength above ultraviolet, but when playing with my latest toy, an infrared thermometer which brought up a question I asked ...
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2answers
203 views

Is it possible to have a perfectly black material?

After reading this NASA article about the "blackest material", the following stuck out to me. The tiny gaps between the tubes absorb 99.5 percent of the light that hits them Is it possible to ...
4
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2answers
951 views

Can light affect gravity? [closed]

I have a mentor at work, who wrote a paper in the past regarding light and relativity. I am an aerospace engineer by training and a system administrator/programmer by trade, so I know a little bit ...